Let's get making! Make A Statement is now available!
We have some super exciting news over here. We wrote a book! A beautiful book about how to make your very own statement jewelry. After almost two years of anticipation (mainly on our part), our first book, Make A Statement: 25 Handcrafted Jewelry & Accessory Projects, is now available to purchase!
So what's it all about? We're sharing our trade secrets for using basic techniques and easy-to-source materials to make stylish jewelry and accessories, from a gold bib necklace and geometric hoop earrings to a classic charm bracelet and elegant shoe clips. The book features gorgeous watercolor how-to illustrations, an introduction to the basic tools needed, plus helpful information on sourcing high quality, affordable materials. Make a Statement will inspire you to craft pieces to dress up any outfit and make things that you'll love now and for many seasons to come.
We are so excited today to share a few sneak peeks along with some behind the scenes shots...
To see a few more behind the scenes photos of the past 2 years as we researched, developed, designed and wrote the book, check out #makeastatementbook. We are so excited to hear what you think of the book and we can't wait to see you with a real copy in your hands! Thanks for all your support -- it means so very much!
Also, If you're in NYC we'd love to meet you at our book launch on March 19th at West Elm Market in Brooklyn. We will be signing books, making jewelry, and partying the night away! Get the details here and make sure to sign up for our newsletter as we'll be sending more information in the next couple weeks!
Meet multidisciplinary artist and ceramicist Lindsey Hampton. Based in Vancouver Canada, Lindsey has swept the pottery game stateside with stockists in Brooklyn to Hawaii. Understandably so, with peachy gradient colors and nods to Memphis Design, each piece is pretty irresistible. We caught up with her and talked shop, from maker memories to her favorite Vancouver haunts.
I Make...lots of things, but these days mostly ceramics.
First maker memory...my dad taught me how to macrame when I was pretty young. I made so many friendship bracelets!
Makers that inspire you...Peter Shire, David Hockney, Hans Arp. I've also been obsessed with Takuro Kuwata's work lately.
If you weren’t making pots, you’d be making... prints.
Favorite tool of the trade...I use a little flexible piece of stainless steel for pretty much everything, scraping, cleaning, applying, etc. That and masking tape.
Material(s) you want to work with...I've been meaning to take a metal sculpture class, I will soon.
Top Places to Source...for clay and stuff unfortunately there's only some weird places way out in the suburbs. I try to stock up as much as I can to avoid the drive.
Something you wish you could make...a boat.
Favorite place in Vancouver to snack....Don't Argue Pizza
Favorite place in Vancouver to get your drink on...33 Acres
Favorite shop in Vancouver to blow your paycheck at...Vancouver Special
Favorite song at the moment....Jessica Pratt "Back, Baby"
This month we gave our subscribers ortho plaster to cast candlestick holders and a bowl. Are there any types of clay or materials out there that you've used that seem so wrong but in the end are so right?
Not yet, I've found that if something is difficult to work with at the beginning of the process it usually isn't worth it in the end. Clay is a very finicky beast.
So not only have you dominated the pottery world, you're also an incredibly talented graphic designer, photographer and installation artist. How have these other outlets of creativity informed your ceramic work?
I feel like it's somewhat impossible for someone's background to not inform any current state of creativity. It's such a personal thing. Even if you don't know where something comes from, I don't believe you can ever be a blank canvas. My educational background is in Graphic Design and I worked as a designer for about 5 years before I picked up ceramics. I had already developed a distinct aesthetic with my design work so it translated in to any other medium quite easily. Ceramics, in my mind, is exactly the same as graphic design and I approach it as such, I go through the same steps. Physically there are different skills involved, but mentally it's the same. I imagine I would apply the same thinking even if I was building a house.
We're a little more than one month down in 2015, any big plans for the year?
I'm moving my studio into a nice quiet room at the end of the month, and I have a feeling this room will be very productive. It's got good mojo. I'm hoping to just make as many things as I can, experiment, test some boundaries and find some boxes to think outside of.
All photos courtesy of Lindsey Hampton.
Meet Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino, a one woman embroidery studio based in Brooklyn. You may already know of her from her Zodiac Embroidery Kits that are stocked at Purl Soho and other craft stores nationwide. We chatted with the queen of stitching about makers that inspire her, the upcoming holiday season and rum slushies.
I Make...embroidery kits, customized gifts, messages in bottles, and whatever the hell I'm feeling at the moment.
First maker memory...I used to rip tags with extra buttons off of dresses on circular racks at JCPenney while my grandmother shopped. I would collect lots of little things to make miniature homes for The Borrowers or little mice.
Makers that inspire you...I love the work of Beci Orpin, Demetria Chappo ceramics, Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching, Ann Wood, Sweet Paul, Yellow Owl Workshop, Tumbleweeds Handcraft. There are so many creative hardworking independent and inspiring independent makers out there! I love following them on instagram to see what they're up to!
If you weren’t Making, you’d be... Baking.
Favorite tool of the trade...thread- so many colors and it's inexpensive. Love putting together a good mix of colors.
Material(s) you want to work with...metal. I took a metals class once and made rings, charms, and necklace chains. I loved it, and would love to take another class. OH and silkscreening too! I just want to take so many classes!
Top Places to Source...the fashion district in NYC and flea markets.
Something you wish you could make...I've learned how to knit and crochet many times, but I don't keep up with it. I want to make more knit & crochet.
Favorite place in Brooklyn to snack....'sNice is great and right in my hood are two places I love Meme's Healthy Nibbles & Punchline Juice bar.
Favorite place in Brooklyn to get your drink on...get the Dark & Stormy at Glady's! Rum slushies FTW.
Favorite shop in Brooklyn to blow your paycheck at...Owl & Thistle General Store, The Brooklyn Flea, Pink Olive
This month's For the Maker's collection includes an embroidery project. What would be your stitching guide 101 for our makers?
Take your time with embroidery. It's a slow process, and sometimes people get frustrated with not finishing a project or picking up a new stitch immediately. Enjoy the process!
The holiday season is upon us, what stitched gifts will you be giving out this year?
Sorry family! I blew it this year. I spent all my stitching time making orders for my shop, Miniature Rhino. I usually make a yearly snowflake ornament, but this holiday was nuts. Holidays 1, Jessica 0.
You wrote a book, you have a class at Make Workshop, what's next for Miniature Rhino?
I also have a embroidery class on Craftsy, where you can learn to stitch with me at any time and in your PJs. I'm all about stitching in my PJs! I also want to expand my product line to offer more patterns, kits, and custom gifts.
Evie has been illustrating our look books for 3 years now and we finally had the pleasure of meeting her in person. She's been busy traveling the U.S. of A. with her husband and two boys in a RV seeing the sights, going on epic adventures and collecting the flora and fauna from every state they visit. Evie got down to business and watercolored this months High Gloss Collection look book right in our Brooklyn studio (spoiler alert - avert your eyes if you don't want to catch a glimpse of what's to come). There's nothing more exciting then seeing a fellow maker at work. We want to thank Evie for the countless illustrations over these past 3 years and can't wait to see the look books to come!
Keeping in the theme of this month's Untitled collection, we found it necessary to share the guidelines of one of the wold's most recognized industrial designers, Dieter Rams. His unobtrusive approach and belief in "less but better" design generated a timelessness in his products and have influenced the designs of many others. In the early 1980s, Dieter Rams became increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?
As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. Here are his ten rules of design.
1. Good design is innovative
The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
2. Good design makes a product useful
A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
3. Good design is aesthetic
The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
4. Good design makes a product understandable
It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
5. Good design is unobtrusive
Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
6. Good design is honest
It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
7. Good design is long-lasting
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.
9. Good design is environmentally-friendly
Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
10. Good design is as little design as possible
Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Meet Jean Lee and Dylan Davis, the masterminds behind Ladies & Gentlemen Studio. These Seattle based makers design and assemble everything from chimes to chairs. We love their inventive use of materials and contemporary take on shape, composition and color. They were kind enough to share their inspirations, process and favorite Seattle haunts.
We Make...a range of products from small home objects, jewelry to furniture and lighting, custom work and beyond.
First maker memory...thrift store hopping to find interesting objects to repurpose.
Makers that inspire us...Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Ruth Asawa,
If we weren’t making products, we'd be making... our dream studio or house.
Favorite tool of the trade...(Jean) vintage brass & wood folding ruler, (Dylan) caliper
Material(s) we want to work with...ceramics, bronze casting, cast iron
Top Places to Source...Online Metals, we stumbled upon their scrap bin which lead us using tall the mix metal in our products.
Favorite song at the moment...'Shape' by Glasser
Favorite Seattle restaurant...The Whale Wins. All their dishes are beautifully composed and its a total feast for the eyes and taste. It's seemingly simple but surprisingly complex in taste.
Favorite Seattle coffee shop...Cafe Weekend. A well-designed little cafe with a mix of treats, homemade baked goods, and a cute room to work in.
Favorite Seattle shopping spot...Totokaelo, not so much shopping there as much as browsing / day dreaming in there.
L & G Studio seems to be inspired by industrial materials and shapes. Have there been materials you loved and tried working with that just didn't work out?
We're still learning about ways to play with glass and have tried to use stained glass sheet for lighting but have yet landed on anything that works.
We read that you studied together in Seattle and Italy. How would you say those locations and cultures informed your work? What other destinations and societies do you look towards?
The natural scenery & the lifestyle here in the Pacific Northwest has been a big influence on us. Its in an area of the US where it feels a bit more isolated from everything else, but because of that, people have more room to think, to exist, and be with their own thoughts. The simple, understated lifestyle in the PNW trickled down to the way we look at things and how we interact with the world. What inspired us the most about Italy was seeing how the makers there are very well respected and how they play a big part in the lifestyle & culture there. We got to visit so many maker shops where people are masters in one thing in making either just leather goods, shoes, clothing, metal work, jewelry, breads, cheese, or meats! It was a total eye-opening experience for us at that time since the whole maker scene wasn't so prevalent 10 years ago. We remember at that time saying to each other how great it would be if we can be like them and make a living off of what we design and make...and here we are!
We love how seamlessly your esthetics runs through your collections, from chimes to lighting, chairs to jewelry. What area or product are you interested in tackling next?
We want to be ever-evolving so that we get to "play" at work, which why we have such a mix of products. Besides playing with materials and making different types of products, we also love collaborating with other artists and designers. We're currently juggling a few new collaborations doing some special edition products for Heath Ceramics; a stationary project with a graphic design studio, Hardhat & Mohawk Paper; new editions of Ovis chair with designer, AVO who paints really beautiful artwork on leather. We aim for this exploratory spirit to be an integral part of us and our studio.
Thanks so much to Jean and Dylan! Make sure to check out their website, their visual diary and to follow them on Instagram. Top photos courtesy of Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, studio photos taken by Robin Stein and last photo by Charlie Schuck.
Meet Shana Tabor - owner, founder and wonder woman behind the Brooklyn based jewelry and clothing company In God We Trust. We've been big fans of IGWT's cheekiness (see brass card case engraved with "talented motherf*#$er" below) and we're blown away when we heard that pretty much everything is made in house. The hilarious and charming Shana was kind enough to let us tour the store and studio, where we talked industry, our favorite's of Brooklyn, and babies. (She's expecting TWO!!)
I Make... Memories. Jewelry, apparel (men's and women's) and some accessories.
First maker memory... My grandmother teaching me to sew. Or maybe watching her in awe at a sewing machine. She only had one arm, so her precision and skill was defiantly elevated by that aspect. I remember her giving me a toy sewing machine when I was very young. It only sewed through paper, so it wasn't long before that became boring.
Makers that inspire you... Honestly any person that is making items that have obvious skill, talent and patience. Patience, should probably be at the top of this list. I wish I had more of it, and admire people who do. Annie Larson is pretty incredible. We just started caring her knitwear. Impeccably made and designed!!! A plus plus!
If you weren’t making jewelry, you’d be making... love.
Favorite tool of the trade... A really good drill. Not even specifically a jewelry tool. I just think everyone one should own a quality drill.
Material(s) you want to work with... I don't know how to weld, I would love to learn to make larger metal items.
Top Places to Source...Wandering the garment district can lead to much inspiration.
Favorite snack of choice....Bagels. (not really a snack, but fuck it)
Favorite beverage of choice...Wine. Definitely wine.
Favorite neighborhood (Greenpoint) hangs...Being pregnant I'm not doing a lot of hanging right now. But I'd say day time Budin (cafe) and in the eve River Styx. I spend a lot of time at Homecoming, but it's not really what I would call a hang spot. I mean I hang there but, I am also completely in love with everything and everyone there.
What have you been diggin this fashion season so far?
I'm looking forward to the outwear and sweaters. Boxy and oversized with great tailoring.
Big fans of the cheekiness and humor that's intertwined throughout all your collections. What's making you laugh lately?
Well I personally think I am hysterical, so there's that. I do many things to entertain myself. But if I have to actually pick something, I'd say Williamsburg.
We noticed you custom engrave jewelry. What's that best thing you've ever been asked to engrave?
Wow this is tough. Some are so gross gross that I can't even repeat. I feel like maybe they are placing the order just to shock me. We did have a "will you marry me." That was so sweet!! Some of my other favs are "rather be raving" and "you smell fat." In all fairness I came up with those, so I'm not sure I they count. Still... Classic!
Before leaving Greenpoint we walked to the neighborhood's favorite treat stop, Ovenly. Cookie and coffee in hand, we hopped on the East River ferry and took in the views as we headed back to Dumbo. An awesome end to an awesome day.
We love you New York.
This month's rock heavy collection prompted us to shoot our latest lookbook on the streets of NYC's trendy neighborhood, SoHo. We spent the day walking the streets, talking shop and shooting scenes with baby in tow. Take a look at what was a truly beautiful day and then get making those new diy projects!
Meet Samantha Priddy of Sharp Tooth Studio. This Texan hand makes pennant flags that say exactly what we're all thinking, like "Stay Weird" and "Make It Happen." We caught up with her and found out about the most amazing felt supplier and the perfect words of wisdom for makers.
I Make...Wall banners, Embroidered Mini Banners, and Pennant Flags.
First maker memory...making mud sculptures at the park in preschool.
Makers that inspire you...Laura Blythman is my current favorite.
If you weren’t making wall hangings, you’d be making anything out of clay.
Favorite tool of the trade...my tiny gold bird scissors.
Material(s) you want to work with...I'd love to get back into ceramics as that is my background.
Top Places to Source...The Felt Pod has the most amazing wool felt in colors I can't find most places.
Something you wish you could make...I wish I had the patience to work with metals. I find that medium to be particularly frustrating. That, and printmaking was the only art class I didn't take in college.
Favorite snack of choice....hummus and pita.
Favorite beverage of choice...Coconut La Croix.
Favorite song at the moment....Anything by Salt n Pepa.
We love all your mantras. What would you say your personal mantra is?
"Use what you have"
Thanks Samantha! Make sure to check out her shop and to follow her adorable Instagram @sharptoothstudio.
The ladies of FTM spend a lot of time in New York City's garment district researching trends and sourcing materials for project samples. We've shared our favorite place for deadstock and vintage supplies and now we're sharing a few more of our go to sourcing spots.
As always, the first stop is Culture Espresso for coffee and cookies ... y'know, proper shopping fuel to fight fatigue.
Next stop is B&J Fabrics, a family owned and operated store famous for being the best of the best in textiles and fabrics. This place prides itself on it's knowledgeable staff, well organized floor, and inventory. If it exists, it's here - bolts of intricately hand sewn sequined chiffon, whole fox skins, glitter vinyl, leathers ... anything you can imagine.
When we're looking for rhinestones we go to Beads World. They also carry a vast array of chain, findings and of course, beads. They're in the midst of moving next door to Culture Coffee (dreams really do come true!) and we can't wait to see the new space.
This picture says all the reasons we love Exquisite Gems. We can get lost here browsing everything from raw agate pendants to faceted ceramic beads.
No trip to the garment district is complete without a stop at Magazine Cafe. They stock all the hard to find fashion magazines and look books plus every international Vogue. You can find us here flipping through Love Magazine and basking in the glow of our #dreamjob.
Can't get enough of the garment district? Check out our video below. If you have a favorite spot for your DIY needs we'd love to hear about it. Share it with us on Twitter with the #makerspots
Meet marbling master and book binding wizard Natalie Stopka. We fell in love with her marbleized silk ribbon and knew we had to pick her brain on marbling do's and don't's and of course what she's drinking.
I Make...Book and textile arts focused on unconventional structures and historical techniques. I draw on the traditions of both bookbinding and handmade textiles - anything from natural dyes and resist techniques to paper marbling or needle weaving - to create unique, utilitarian goods.
First maker memory...My family put no restrictions on creative endeavors, so I tried them all: drawing, knitting, baking, ceramics, embroidery. I even had a whittling phase. I've always been an avid reader and remember binding my first book at 14, which along with my love of art led to my degree in Illustration.
Makers that inspire you...Quilters, printmakers, and weavers, both contemporary and historical.
If you weren’t making books, you’d be making textiles. Maybe quilts or mordant-patterned pieces.
Favorite tool of the trade...My pin vise, or my ruler collection. I am extremely particular about rulers and straight edges.
Material(s) you want to work with...Home-grown indigo and natural pigments for marbling. And washi with the perfect surface and wet strength, but I haven't found it yet.
Top Places to Source...Closer and closer to home. I'd love to grow all the natural dyes myself, and learn to spin thread and make paper from native plants.
Something you wish you could make...Aged cheeses!
Favorite snack of choice....Cheese, bread, & pickles
Favorite beverage of choice...Dry rosé
Favorite song at the moment....The complete works of the Felice Brothers
We're still new to the marbling game. Any tips for us and other makers out there?
While marbling looks like a free and easy color-fest, it relies on solid chemistry. Before you can really get your hands dirty, the carrageenan or methylcellulose size and pigments must be mixed to the proper consistency, and the paper needs to be treated with alum. Even with good instructions, it takes some practice to learn the feel of it. After that, marbling is amazingly fun. (*Note we used corn starch as our size)
We see that you like to work with all natural dyes. Tell us more about that? Marbling can be done with watercolor, acrylic, or oil paints, as well as sumi ink in the Japanese tradition. I use acrylic pigments, though I'd love to experiment with natural earth pigments in the future. Natural dyes cannot be used for marbling because they simply dissolve before a pattern can be made, despite my best efforts. But the fabric or paper can be naturally dyed a base color before marbling, which is a great way to unify the pattern and influence its tone.
Since this month's collection is inspired by academia and libraries we'd love to know what you're reading right now and/or any books that helped you learn the marbling process?
A friend and I just started a history book club, and we are currently reading Murder Most Russian and The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison. For the less morbid, I recommend Anne Chambers' The Practical Guide to Marbling Paper and Suminagashi: The Japanese Art of Marbling, as well as Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay.
Thank you so much Natalie! Make sure to check out Natalie's website for marbled goods and sneak peaks into the world of marbling. She also just joined Instagram and we know we'll be double tapping everything!